My Relationship with Mawaru Penguindrum

My first introduction to Kunihiko Ikuhara was through Revolutionary Girl Utena. It made me re-evaluate how I approached and felt about fiction. I still think well of shows like Waiting in the Summer and The World God Only Knows, but Utena is just on a whole other level. It was only natural that I would look into watching Mawaru Penguindrum shortly after I first experienced Utena. My friend Ally had been liveblogging it on Tumblr, and it appeared to be exactly the kind of follow-up show I wanted.

This isn’t really a blog post about Penguindrum. So if you were after an indepth look at any of the themes, episodes, or specific motifs of it you’ll have to look elsewhere. Instead here this will be self-reflection of my experience with and around Penguindrum. So if you’re after something not massively self indulgent I might upload an editted version of my Philosophy of Film formative if I hear back from my lecturer and it isn’t The Worst.

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12 Days of Anime #3: Shorts of the Year

Since I’m feeling very anxious at the moment, I think it’s fair to have a chiller piece today. Life is tough, unbelievably so in current socio-political climates, so anything that helps alleviate that is worthwhile. Short anime, by their very structure, are great for that. Easy to digest, easy to spend time with, short anime can give brief moments of spare time or energy the pick up you need. So here we are. Three shorts that have meant alot to me, in differing ways, this year.

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12 Days of Anime #4: ‘Worlds’ in Flip Flappers

One incredible feature of our personhood is how we, as people, are not tied down to any particular ‘world’. Though we accept that there must be a singular world at some level, we as subjective and complex individuals also accept there are many important and different lenses through which we experience it. Fiction is one such brand of lenses. Stories can entertain, provoke, and inspire people, despite the fact the events described in them are, strictly speaking, not real. The ideas, beliefs and examinations in such fiction are ultimately communicated in such a fashion to be palatable. There is value in dry textbooks describing the world. There is also value in fantasy fiction describing a fake world. Flip Flappers is no exception to this.

(slightly nsfw images below the cut, courtesy of the Adolscence of Utena)

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12 Days of Anime #5: Self Serving Conflict in Psycho Pass

A key component of Psycho Pass is the relationship between the main villain, Makishima, and the secondary protagonist, Kougami. Since I watched Psycho Pass for the first time in Spring, I think I’m going to talk a little about that. But more than just looking at Kougami and Makishima, I am also going to look at Akane. I am going to look at a central scene of hers and explain why her arc is framed as being ‘greater’ than Kougami’s.

(The following will contain pretty major spoilers of Psycho Pass. I don’t go into much plot details, but literally how the show and major scenes end is talked about)

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12 Days of Anime #6: Top Twelve Mayoiga Memes

It wouldn’t be a 12 Days of Anime without me at least including one clickbait-y top ten piece. However, this time, I’ve decided to one up myself. The Lost Village (or Mayoiga as the title alliterates better with that romanisation) , by nature of being the best TV anime to come out this year, deserves something better than that. So we’re gonna have a Top Twelve instead. It’s what Lovepon would have wanted. Beginning in no particular order beyond when I thought of them: Lets begin!

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12 Days of Anime #7: Chibodee Crocket’s Got Four Mums – G Gundam

Continuing on from my previous Gundam pieces, Mobile Fighter G Gundam (or G Gundam for short) is perhaps the most surprising Gundam series I’ve seen thus far. Whilst it’s fair to say that every Gundam has surprised me, since they don’t appear to be those super edgy MAN showcases like wankers on the internet lead me to believe they are, G Gundam in particular stands out. For all it’s ridiculousness and ham, G Gundam turned out to be quite an earnest show. Expressing deep concerns over capitalist meritocracies, the nature of modern war politics, and even the nature of the generation gap. It managed all that and more (If occasionally stepping back before going too far. Not every show can be Utena after all) whilst still retaining the cartoony energy and fun that only a show about mixed martial arts and giant robots can.

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12 Days of Anime #8: Anime is Magic – A Silent Voice

The final film I saw at the Leeds International Film Festival was Kyoto Animation’s ‘A Silent Voice‘. A Silent Voice is quite an anticipated film in the Western anime scene, as of writing this it is on as many people’s MALs as Girls Und Panzer (which isn’t far behind Yuri On Ice!) despite it only having been available to a tiny fraction of that number. I do not have the data to give an accurate reason ‘why’ this is the case,  though it being a Kyoto Animation movie of a popular manga is almost certainly A Thing (It being Naoko Yamada directed film, whilst important, is not something I’d think matters to most people).

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